Posts Tagged ‘parkrun’

Virtual parkrun PB attempt

Saturday, April 25th, 2020 | Sport

The lockdown seems like a good excuse to do some fast running. And, now that I have decided that I can live with the Nike Next%, I was eager to see if they really could reduce my 5km PB time. So, I decided to go out early Tuesday morning while it was still cool.

I felt crap when I got up. I didn’t think about abandoning, but I did think “remember this feeling for the next time you’re feeling crap, in case you ace it”. The weather was pretty good: nice and cool but there was also a strong headwind on the finishing straight.

I jogged up there but had to come down to a walk on Clarendon Road because the shoes were really digging into my feet. As I reached the top, it eased off a bit, and I figured it was going to hurt a lot anyway, so I might as well give it a go. After a few minutes sit down in the park, I counted down from 10 and set off.

My first kilometre came in at 4:08. After that, I had to back off a little as my chest started to burn. My previous PB was 22:06, so even on a great day, sub-21 was unlikely. Therefore, anything near 4:12 was acceptable. I settled in around the 4:20s, which I was fine with as even a 22:30 would show I could still run at around my best.

As each kilometre went by, where my watch said I was and where I knew the parkrun markers would be, drifted apart. I had specifically turned GLONASS on, as well as GPS, to get a more accurate reading but it was to no avail.

As I fit the final straight I smashed into the wind and felt like I was sprinting while simultaneously feeling like I was slowing down. I crossed roughly where the parkrun finish line is at 21:06, although I had to keep running to 21:29 until my watch registered 5km.

21:06

Which was one was correct? I’m going with the official parkrun course, which I assume they have carefully measured. It was a clear day, though, so there should have been a good satellite signal.

After the run, I collapsed on the grass and took 5-10 minutes before I could get up and walk again. Based on the parkrun line time, I was exactly 60 seconds faster than my previous PB. At 4%, the shoes would give me 53 seconds. That means I was the other 7 seconds of improvement. Or at 5%, 67 seconds, in which case I lost 7 seconds. But either way, my fast running is still in good shape. Of course, it is easier without the crowds, too.

And that’s the story of how I got up before 9am for the first time since the lockdown started.

Weymouth parkrun

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 | Sport

Our holiday in Weymouth gave me a chance to do some parkrun tourism. I wondered whether it would be incredibly busy with 2,700 athletes descending in the town for IRONMAN. However, it turns out most of them were too serious to do a parkrun the day before.

The course is a mini loop through the trees of Lodmoor park before and out and back that goes to the far side and then back to the loop. The sun was shining, and once you hid from the coastal wind, it was hot.

Everyone was friendly, and it was an enjoyable run.

Parkrun Day: The Film

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 | Sport, Video

Last week, when Hyde Park Harriers took on Leeds parkruns, I took my GoPro along to document the trip. Here is the film I made.

Parkrun Day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | Sport

Every year, Hyde Park Harriers try to take on all of the parkuns in Leeds in a single day. This has become more and more of a challenge as new parkruns start. By this year, 2019, there are now nine of them. With two more starting soon, I have no idea what we will do next year. Possibly a multi-day event.

Having so many parkruns means the distance this year was up to 45km. Anything longer than 42.2km is technically an ultramarathon. 45km is pretty much the easiest ultramarathon you can possibly do, especially as you get a break when driving between them. Or so I thought. It turns out that having a break just gives your legs a chance to seize up.

Roundhay

We started bright and early at 7:30am. Ed Sheran had taken over most of the park so we had to forgo the regular parkrun route and do two laps of the lake instead. Nobody was sad to miss the long drag of the hill up to the mansion in favour of a beautiful view of the lake. It was sunny on the near side and rained on the far side.

Potternewton

By Potternewton, I was already feeling it. Bad times only 5km in! I wanted to pace myself so I walked up some of the hills. Meanwhile, Marcos Angel Valero Palacios came sprinting past me to take a course record of 15:59.

Temple Newsam

I had not packed a lot of food as I only decided to come for it at the last minute and had not had a chance to stock up, so by Temple Newsam I was hungry. I grabbed a coke, a sausage roll and a caramel shortbread from the cafe. The sun was out in full force by Temple Newsam, and Amy and Paul made a guest appearance.

Rothwell

The sun continued to beat down at Rothwell so I took a quick break to suncream up. The tarmac was starting to pound my legs by this point, so I was pleased to have grass to run on for most of it. How easy was everyone else taking it? Toby and Rich lapped me at this one.

Middleton Woods

Ah, the sweet shade of the woods. I felt good at Middleton, at least for the first three kilometres. I was still walking up some fo the hills but was running everything else. After the run, we had lunch on the bike cafe. A cheeseburger and chips went down well, accompanied by two bottles of orange juice and another can of coke.

Cross Flatts

It has cooled down a little by Cross Flatts and we dispatched the course without too much trouble. I felt no ill effects from having stuffed my face.

Bramley

By Bramley, I was tired but feeling good. I had finished both my bidons by this point, so we went to the shop to reload. The ground was a bit soggy when I moved off the tarmac and onto the grass.

Armley

This one was always going to be a challenge because it was so deep in but not quite at the end. We took it really steady so it didn’t hurt too much.

Woodhouse Moor

Ah, the end! I was excited to arrive here and we were joined by a few other Harriers. I went hard to try and put in a good time, but the fatigue meant that a “good time” was still 31 minutes. After crossing the finish line, I would say I felt amazing, but I mostly felt sick. That’s pretty standard with anything over three hours, though.

Conclusion

I can’t believe I made it. Eight others also claimed all of the runs, and while Greg missed Roundhay, he did the most work out of all of us as he cycled between each one. Thank you to Toby for organising it and Ellie for keeping me company at the back.

I’ll see you all next year… for one of the parkuns ;).

Temple Newsam’s 300th Parkrun

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

Yesterday, Temple Newsam held their 300th Parkrun. With it being a big round number, I decided to head across to test my legs.

It’s been a year since I’ve run Temple Newsam. The last one I did, which was my course PB, was part of the New Year’s Day double at the start of 2018 before I had started my triathlon training in earnest. So, the 27:12 I set there was inevitably going to fall.

In the end, I ran:

23:17

Really happy with that. I’ve only gone sub-23 twice at Woodhouse Moor, so once you factor in the hills of Temple Newsam, that feels like an excellent result. I knew I wasn’t running quite as fast as when I was marathon training, but I’m not far off.

It wasn’t much bigger than usual: 199 runners in total. They did have a photographer there, though, so at the start, I sprinted up the front to be in the photo. And, as you can see below, I made it! (Light blue Go Tri t-shirt on the far left, in case you can’t spot me). Thanks to ‎Phil Bland‎ for taking the photos!

Potternewton Parkrun

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 | Sport

Last Saturday, I headed down to Potternewton Park to try the new Parkrun there. Parkrun like to soft launch their events to work out any bugs, so many of us had avoided event #1. But, now that that was out of the way, 199 of us headed down to give it a go.

Leeds now has a total of nine Parkruns: Woodhouse Moor, Cross Flatts, Middleton Woods, Temple Newsam, Roundhay, Bramley, Armley and Rothwell being the others.

Potternewton Park is hilly. It doesn’t have the endless drag of Temple Newsam, or maybe even Roundhay, but it goes up and down quite a bit. It’s three laps, mostly on tarmac with a bit on some matting. You could get a buggy around the course if you fancied hills but dogs are currently not allowed.

My time was okay. I ran:

23:46

Ten seconds slower than I did at Middleton Woods last week, and a minute and a half off my PB, but you can’t compare the flats of Woodhouse Moor to a hilly course and I ran most of the last lap with Graeme, and it’s very difficult to chat and get enough air in at the same time (worth the trade, though).

Armley Parkrun

Monday, October 22nd, 2018 | Sport

Earlier this month I went up to Armley to do the Parkrun there. It’s about three kilometres away from the city centre, so just a little further than Woodhouse Moor.

Armley Parkrun launched over the summer, albeit with a “soft launch”. When I mentioned it on my blog I volunteer contacted me and asked me to remove the reference and when I asked about it in running club everyone spoke in hushed tones. Apparently, when a new Parkrun launches there is an unwritten rule about not telling anyone. It’s one of the weird rules that makes me a little uncomfortable at how Parkrun operates as an organisation.

Nevertheless, having been running for over four months, it is now a well established and welcoming run. They seem to have an army of volunteers, based on the sample size of one event.

The course is a mix of tarmac and grass. Having run past Gotts Park many times I assumed the course would be very hilly. However, Armley Park itself is really flat: probably flatter than Woodhouse Moor. It’s three loops with a bit of a crossover between the start and finish. It seems a good option to go for if you’re looking for a PB.

Parkrun 100 t-shirt

Friday, September 28th, 2018 | Sport

It’s been three years since I earnt my Parkrun 50 t-shirt, and, at the very start of 2017, I completed my 100th Parkrun. Since then I’ve been waiting for my t-shirt. Well, that days has finally come.

I’m pretty annoyed at Parkrun, as an organisation, over the whole affair. 21 months I’ve been waiting for my t-shirt to turn up. I feel a little lied to and let down. Arguably, they are a charity and the t-shirt only costs £4 (which is a delivery charge). But if anything, their charitable status only means they should hold themselves to a higher level of integrity and if they promise a t-shirt, they should deliver on that.

Of course, now they have. And it’s a pretty nice t-shirt, too. It is more of a mesh than the previous ones: if you hold it up to your eye you can see through it. I took it for a spin at Parkrun #169 it it felt good (inspired me to a PB no less!).

I’m really pleased to finally have it. The next stop is 250, which I will hopefully hit sometime in 2020.

Parkrun #169

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 | Sport

Surprise Parkrun PBs (personal bests) are the worst PBs. It’s like drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round. Sure, you’ve accidentally drafted the greatest quarterback in the history of American football, and you’ve done it for an almost-worthless draft pick. But it shouldn’t be an accident. An accident suggests you got your planning wrong.

So it is with Parkrun PBs. My existing PB of 22:39, which I set in May, felt like my best effort. I had gone out to set a PB and I had achieved that, and now I could die happy knowing that the time reflected my best performance.

When I started Parkrun #169, I had no intention of beating it. I didn’t think I could. But I did know that my training schedule said I had to go hard. So, I did. And my time was:

22:06

A good 33 seconds faster than my previous time and giving me a 58.67% on the age grading.

Having said all of that, I’m pleased with the result. I spent the summer doing a lot of training and in the past few weeks I have been focussing on my running, so maybe that is paying off.

Here’s an updated graph because everyone loves a graph:

Pride Parkrun 2018

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 | Sport

Every year, the Pride team turn up to Parkrun to cheer people on and hand out free goodies. Last year, I got a pair of rainbow laces, which I was wearing at this year’s Pride Parkrun.

I had a triathlon to so the day after, but I also felt like I was losing fitness. So, I decided to forgo the “take it easy” approach that would involve resting my legs and instead, go hard and hopefully give myself a confidence boost that I was still performing well.

I did and I got it. Thanks to a sprint finish when I realised I might just make it within the minute, I managed to run:

22:58

This is 19 seconds off my personal best, but it is only the second time I have managed to go sub-23 so I was very pleased with it. Did it give me the confidence to smash it at the Allerthorpe Classic triathlon? Find out soon…